5 Strategies to Stay Ahead of Competition Nerves

May 16, 2019

horse jumping training

With competition season here, horse shows and barrel races are probably on your mind. You’ve worked all winter and spring perfecting your riding and getting your horse ready for competitions, and now the pressure is on. If you find competition nerves are taking the fun out of competing or are having negative effects on your performance, use the following five strategies to get control over your nerves:

Prepare Your Horse Well

Many times, competition nerves occur when we haven’t fully prepared ourselves or our horses. Taking the time to get ready – really ready – at home can naturally help to quell some of these nerves. While it may be exciting to get into the show ring as soon as possible, take some time and make sure that you and your horse are really ready. Work with a trainer you trust and head to a show or competition only when you feel that you and your horse are both well-prepared, mentally and physically. 

Hold Mock Competitions at Home

Hold a mock horse show or competition at home to see how your horse reacts and mentally prepare yourself for the real thing. Bring some friends and their horses in on the plan, ask someone to play the judge and get some family members on site to act as an audience. If you can use a loudspeaker, all the better. Introduce your horse to as many stimuli as possible, like baby carriages and umbrellas, and then ask him to turn his attention back to his job in the ring.

Attend Local Schooling Competitions

If large competitions are causing anxiety, take a step back and attend some local schooling shows or events. The pressure is off at smaller events, and you can focus on having some fun with your horse and just making the experience a positive one. These smaller events are ideal places to try out new techniques, like positive self-talk or meditation, to see if they help you control your nerves.

Reintroduce Fun

When you’re riding for points or to achieve a goal, it’s easy to lose sight of the fun behind riding. You may also start putting more and more pressure on yourself – and when things go wrong, that pressure mounts, often creating a vicious circle.

Put the fun back in riding by bringing some friends to competitions with you and focusing on enjoying the company as you spend time with your horses. Try to forget about the points while you’re competing and, instead, make it your goal to ride well rather than to win. When you’re focusing on your own riding and trying to improve yourself, everything else seems to fall into place.

Give Your Horse an Advantage

When you set out on the cross-country course or are in the chute waiting to begin your barrel run, there’s one other strategy that can give you peace of mind in the midst of competition: Knowing your horse has an advantage. EPO-Equine can supplement all the conditioning you’ve done, supercharging your horse’s speed, strength and endurance.

During a clinical study, EPO-Equine was proven to result in larger and more red blood cells and improved blood quality, and to promote elevated exercise physiology and performance in horses. In competition, this supplement can give your horse the winning edge he needs.

Learn more about EPO-Equine and order today to see what it can do for your equine athlete this competition season.

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